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The wide adoption of cell phones has undeniably changed the way we communicate with one another forever. Your old high school friends and relatives that live halfway across the country are only a few dial tones away at any given time. But with the invention of the cell phone came other changes. One of said changes, undoubtedly aided by our increasingly busy and on-the-go lives, is our concept of time.

More specifically, our perception of another's "response time" to a text message or email has drastically changed over the past few years. Knowing that most of your friends have a smartphone and are at least proficient enough to check their email and Facebook, or send a few text messages has apparently dwindled our patience for a response to next to nothing. Many of us, including myself from time to time, are guilty of toe-tapping and checking our watch, waiting on a timely reply from the recipient of the text.

The obvious solution to our growing problems with impatience is simply to call someone if you need a quick response. Texting usually leads to things being lost in translation, slashing of important details and (at best) a minute or so latency between responses.

Personally, I have always been a fairly patient person – that is, as long as you don't consider how antsy I get prior to the launch of a new video game (ahem, Modern Warfare 3, anyone?) or phone ... or tablet. I understand that people get busy and do not compulsively check their phone every two minutes like I do. However, calling is not always an option (and something I seriously hate to do, unless absolutely necessary), and certain situations force me to be impatient. That said, I usually try to keep it to myself and wait as long as possible (usually no less than half an hour) before sending a second message.

But some of my friends and family, however, are not so ... understanding.

Maybe it's because I'm the "guru" of the bunch. If anyone needs help with anything tech-related, I'm their go-to guy. They know if I don't initially know the answer to their question or problem, I will find it and I will fix whatever they need. And I think this, paired with the fact that I am some sort of a professional tech nut (which they can neither define nor understand completely), likely makes them a little more impatient with me. They do expect me to answer immediately. Every time. And the one time I'm not sitting by my phone, ready to fire back an instant response, I get bombarded with text messages, missed calls and dreaded voicemail notifications.

The truth is, however, that this was going on long before I got into this business. It actually started right after I began text messaging, which was back in 2006, I believe. But it has gotten noticeably worse with time.

Why, you ask? Instant messaging is my best guess.

Things like delivered and read receipts in software like BBM, LiveProfile and iMessage let you know the status of the message you sent. And a notifier that lets you know a person is typing a response is largely a culprit for much of my messaging impatience. If I see a read indicator on a sent message and don't see the "typing" indicator immediately after, my mind starts racing. What are they doing? Are they going to respond? Do I need to send another message? Should I call? You know the drill ...

Generally, I would just chalk this up to being a self-control issue and something I personally need to work on. But I'm seeing it more and more in my friends and family as more of them graduate from flip and feature phones to smartphones.

This is why I would prefer to see some form of instant messaging supersede carrier text messaging. The only benefit of carrier texting is the universality of it; you can sent a text message to someone with a feature phone, a smartphone, on a different carrier or even in a different country. There is no single instant messaging service available that offers such a wide array of options – all of your friends have to be using the same service in order to scrap carrier messaging altogether, which isn't likely to happen in the foreseeable future.

But more universal adoption of instant messaging would allow you to set a status message, letting impatient texters know when you're available and when you're away, when they should call or when they should just wait it out.

What say you, ladies and gents? Has text and instant messaging and our always-connected status made you impatient when it comes to friends replying to you? Do you friends freak out when you don't reply immediately to their texts? Feel free to vent and share your stories below!


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33 Reactions to this post

"What are the new rules of text messaging?"


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Angela Schmidt If something is really urgent, make an actual phone call. I don't expect my friends to text me back asap, but 98% of them usually do.
Tracy Gardner Yes. My friend calls around if I don't text back within mins. My mum Phones. I think if it is not urgent then people should chill.
Tosin Ash When u dont answer some people think u are ignoring them intentionally an think its pretty annoyin but i guess jay is right its my phone.
Matt Dyer I think at least someone should text back I hate that if people text from a BlackBerry they think I sent them an E-mail. I would say to them no I didn't I sent you a text I don't like smartphones for that reason!!! lol
Eric Kroh lol..my boss gets impatient when I dont text him back..haha
Anonymous I hate it !!! Text back, unless it's some kinda emergency
Jamar Salmon The simple rule of texting is this... if you have something urgent you need a response to call me, if you can text and i reply when i can. Don't bug me about replying to your text, IT IS MY PHONE i respond when i want to if and when i want... if you call and i don't answer its my choice, leave a message or call back later... in layman terms it is my phone i play by my rules not yours... :-)... and there is law governing how quickly a person should reply to a text.
Peter Andrew Rardin I have text disabled on my blackberry so they will probably be waiting a long time to get a reply =]
Danu Carrión Perales I just really hate when someone writes me a message in more than one text... it really annoys the living hell out of me... like "hey" (next message) "what are you doing?" (Next message) "want to do something?".... all of that at once
Nick Koval If don't answer they call and say look at your msgs haha
Brandon Coffey If they get annoyed they can get over it.. sometimes you can't answer immediately and others you just don't want to..nothing wrong with that.
Walter Nunez More like gf gets all mad.
Jonathan Morley Yes, sometimes they think the text didn't go through so they keep sending it. imo a text is intended to not disrupt the recipient from what they may be doing; unlike a phone call a text can be read and responded to at their convenience. If you need a more immediate or timely response just call the person. Also it never seems to fail that right around the time I'm heading out for work or while I'm at work is when everyone suddenly decides to send me text. Sometimes it's my sister sending me a text about an ebay auction that she wants to me look at.
Ryan DeClue Yes, and it is beyond annoying !! If you have something that important to say, CALL ME!
Joel Diaz i dont have that problem. everytime i get a text, i answer back in less than 3 seconds all the time. i keep my friends happy.
Ian Mcclendon if its not sexting i can't do it
Philip Weißner I think sending text messages is for short message to let somebody know something like "meet at 8:00". But if you want a quick reply or what somebody think about something what happened, you have to call him!
Robin Kerstel Whatsapp or pi** off.
Anonymous Has anyone really been far on even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
Jun Hong I hate it and my freinds do too
Brandon Smith Fuck you
Jeff Van Damme What's up?
Adrian Anguiano When you text "what's up?" don't say "nothing". That's annoying as hell
Ed Baylon The whole point of texting is communicating immediately but if the receiver is unavailable, they can get back as soon as they can.
Gethin Neagle Texts should be replied to instantly, there is no excuse!!!!
Tim Killian I like using auto txt back when I'm busy.
Ray Munoz Yeah my friends hate it
Kristijan Hresc Even worst is when they keep sending me new text's in an effort to get my reply …
John Jenkins If I don't get a text back within 5 minuets, I know they're either having sex, or ignoring me.
Carlos Quinones Yes. Its annoying
Jasper Johnson Yes my frends are
George Clinton nothing is more personal than someone's voice... just give them a call




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